Phorm and Phunction

Is fashion case-deep?

Feature by Alex Cole | 01 Oct 2010
  • iPhone bling

A friend of mine and I were talking over a pint about how other people buy phones – by other people, we meant non-nerds. He knew someone who’d bought a cheapo phone three generations old and guaranteed to break in a year, and he asked her why she’d bought that, instead of an iPhone or Android mobile. “None of the other phones came in pink,” she said.

There was a time when people had to dial up the internet on their phone lines (it sucked, but never mind). Since only the nerds really played with it, it didn’t really matter what it looked like. Nerds cared about the processor and operating system, not the colour.

Now we get this internet business over the air (better!) and the internet is the playground of every 14 year old with an abiding love of Justin Bieber or X Factor. Now, computers live in more pockets than desks, and now everybody has one. And everybody could care less about the processor inside a phone.

They only care if it looks cool. And for nerds, that’s just nonsense talk.

The iPhone took the mobile world by surprise not because it did anything new (it didn’t), but because it made smartphones shiny. Mobiles weren’t just bits of plastic, they were fashion statements. For every person who said they’d never need the internet on their phone, Apple showed them how cool they’d look if they did.

But for nerds who can still put a computer together from spare parts, form follows function. We like looking cool, sure, but to our minds a slick-looking handset that doesn’t have 3G and can’t run Twitter is a waste of cash. Nerds love the newest generation hardware because it’s new, because it does just a few more things, and just a little better. Who cares what colour it comes in?

Thing is, lusting for new touchscreens or pretty looks are still, at the end of the day, following fashion. Something that changes all the time, and, nerd or normal person, we’re never satisfied with last season’s model. Especially if it comes in pink.